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A picture of a Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Beta vulgaris var. cicla

Also known as

Silverbeet, Chard, Spinasiebeet (Afr.)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Half-hardy

10a

USDA zone

-1°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

Max

50cm

Min

40cm

Flowering

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Swiss Chard
A photo of Swiss Chard

Overview

Swiss Chard is an easy-to-grow, upright vegetable with Spinach-like leaves. It is very tolerant of heat and cold and is a good source of greens for much of the growing season. The leaf stalks are large and often used separately from the leaf blade, both very healthy and part of Mediterranean diet.

Common problems

It is resistant to most plant diseases but may be bothered by aphids, mites, snails, slugs, caterpillars, Cercospora leaf spot - which disfigures the leaves with gray spots that have purple edges, and downy mildew - which causes a mildew-like growth on the foliage.

    Companion plants

    Strawberries, beetroot, brassicas, celery, sweet peppers, onions

    Harvesting

    Young leaves are ready to be harvested 25 days after sowing and mature leaves after 50 days. Harvest leaves regularly as the older leaves can become tough. Chard is a cut-and-come-again crop, so use a knife rather than pulling off the leaves.

    Propagation

    Seed

    Sow seeds directly from mid-spring to midsummer, 6-10 mm deep and 20-30 cm apart. Germination takes 7-12 days.

    Special Features

    Pot plant

    Provided it is in a deep container.

    Crop rotation

    Good alternative for crop rotation. When most other groups of vegetables that can not be planted straight after each other.

    Uses

    Culinary

    Medicinal

    High in vitamin A, C and K as well as fibre and minerals.

    Edible

    Leaves, stems and flowers are edible. The leaves can be cooked like spinach or be eaten raw; stems can be cooked like asparagus and served with butter; flower stalks can be cooked like broccoli.